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Rocket Lab to build Neutron rocket site in Virginia

Rocket Lab plans to build a factory and launch pad in the US state of Virginia for its new Neutron rocket. (Rocket Lab)

US-based space company Rocket Lab has unveiled plans to build a factory and launch pad on Wallops Island, Virginia, for its new Neutron rocket.

Construction will begin “promptly”, Rocket Lab said on 28 February.

The state of Virginia is providing about USD57 million in incentives, including funds to build the facilities and recruit and train employees, according to a Rocket Lab spokesperson. In addition, the company intends to spend about USD103 million to develop Neutron.

Neutron will launch large groups of satellites, as well as conduct deep-space and human spaceflight missions. It is intended to complement Rocket Lab's Electron small-satellite launch vehicle, which has its own launch site on Wallops Island.

Rocket Lab recently received a USD24 million contract from the US Space Force to ensure Neutron will be able to perform national security missions. “Commercial and government interest in Neutron is strong,” the company said.

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